Revived CA can only amend constitution, not to produce statute: Ex-chief justices
THIRA L BHUSAL
KATHMANDU, Oct 28: A group of former chief justices Sunday counseled the prime minister that the dissolved Constituent Assembly (CA) can be reinstated only for the purpose of amending the interim constitution to pave the way for holding fresh elections and to conduct parliamentary hearings for appointment in vital constitutional bodies but not for the purpose of producing new constitution.
The former chief justices told Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai that political consensus among the major political forces had become imperative on ending the deadlock.
"The dissolved CA can be revived in its capacity as parliament for three months at the most only for the purpose of making necessary amendments in the interim constitution with a view to remove constitutional difficulties based on unanimous political decision," Ram Prasad Shrestha said in his seven-page document submitted to the prime minister.
The view was suported by four other Justices - Trilok Pratap Rana, Keshav Prasad Upadhayay, Hari Prasad Sharma and Anup Raj Sharma.
"But, a decision to reinstate the CA for the purpose of making new constitution will be unconstitutional and such a move would be against the Supreme Court´s verdict issued on November 25, 2011," Shrestha´s paper said.
However, Ombhakta Shrestha depite agreeing with other justices also opined that the CA could be revived for the purpose of promulgating new constitution based on the works done in the dissolved CA and other agreements reached so far.
Speaking to republica, Attorney General, Mukti Pradhan, who was also at the meeting, said the former justices underscored the need of taking any political decision in accordance with the Supreme Court´s verdict issued on the same case.
"They suggested the prime minister not to take any decision in contravention with the apex court´s decision."
Bhattarai had sought legal advice about constitutional complications that may arise once the political parties decide either to reinstate the CA or go for fresh elections.
The justices told the prime minister that reviving the Assembly for the purpose of writing new constitution would be tantamount to disrespect of the Supreme Court´s verdict. The apex court in its verdict had suggested three options-- promulgation of new statute within the given time, hold fresh elections for CA or to seek any other legitimate way to make new constitution.
"They were of the view that the Assembly could be reinstated only in its capacity as legislative body for certain period and for specific objectives. The purposes of reinstatement should be categorically stated in advance," Pradhan explained about suggestions offered to the prime minister.
The legal experts were one on the opinion that there is no alternative to holding fresh CA elections for the purpose of accomplishing the incomplete task of writing new constitution and that the revived House can pave the way for holding fresh election by amending the election-related laws and the provisions in the interim constitution.
Also, appointments of justices in the apex court and office bearers in constitutional bodies including the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), Election Commission and Public Service Council have been halted due to absence of parliament.